Friday, May 2, 2014

American Horror Story- Murder House- Episode 10- Smoldering Children

**This post contains spoilers**

I know I said I would finish off Murder House in April, but some unexpected things changed in real life. Oddly enough, the changes kicked in after that post. lol. Nothing serious, just a lot of time consuming stuff, and I don't know how it happened, but this weird foot injury threw a monkey wrench in a lot of my plans.

Finishing Murder House is a day to day thing for the time being, and I'll try to wrap things up as quickly as possible, and I'll put the finishing touches on this review series with my final overall thoughts in a separate post. Now let's get to the review!

Synopsis: In 1994, Constance (Jessica Lange) returns to the Murder House with her son, Tate (Evan Peters) and her daughter, Addie (Jaime Brewer) to start a new life with Larry Harvey (Denis O’Hare). Larry had plans to leave his wife, Lorraine (Rebecca Wisocky) and their two daughters, Margaret and Angela, but an enraged Lorraine committed suicide by locking herself in a room upstairs, and Lorraine started a fire to kill herself and the girls.

Larry refused to ignore his obsession and never-ending love for Constance. One night, Larry and Constance celebrate the return to the Murder House and their new union as a family with a grand dinner and a honey roasted ham as the centerpiece, but Tate breaks his silence before the dinner. Tate isn’t buying Larry’s nice guy act, and he’s disgusted with Larry and Constance’s relationship as lovers. Tate knows Larry murdered Beau (Sam Kinsey) under Constance’s orders, and Tate scolds his mother, because he will never be Constance’s “perfect son.”

One morning, Tate prepares for the shooting at Westfield High School with cocaine and an array of guns. But Tate surprises Larry at his job with a can of gasoline and a match before the shooting. A befuddled Larry temporarily ignores Tate to finish his work. Tate takes advantage of Larry’s defenseless position, and without hesitation, Tate dumps the can of gasoline on Larry, and Tate uses a lit match to burn Larry in his office. After the attack on Larry, Tate casually walks away to complete his mission.

In the present, Detective Granger (Charles S. Dutton) and Detective Barrios (Malaya Rivera Drew) surprise Constance with a visit at her house. Granger and Barrios show Constance the grisly pictures for Travis’ (Michael Graziadei) mangled corpse. After his death, Travis is labeled the “Boy Dahlia,” and Travis accomplishes his goals for success with posthumous fame.

But a heartbroken Constance doesn’t care about headlines and news reports. Constance immediately suspects Larry as the culprit for Travis’ murder. Constance believes Larry murdered Travis out of jealously, but Larry tells Constance the truth: Larry moved the body out of the Murder House, but he didn’t kill Travis.

Constance is stuck in a seemingly inescapable dilemma, because Granger and Barrios suspect Constance as the murderer after a talk with the local shopkeep, and Constance drops her unregistered gun in front of the detectives. They need a face for the popular Boy Dahlia case, and Constance is the perfect fit to complete an infamous story about a crime of passion and betrayal.

Meanwhile, Ben (Dylan McDermott) visits Vivien (Connie Britton) in the asylum. Ben tells a devastated Vivien the truth about her pregnancy: Ben is not the father of both twins, and the Rubber Man is the second father. Ben believes Vivien’s story about the rape, and Ben promises to fight for Vivien’s release, but Vivien refuses to take one step inside the house after her release. Ben supports a fragile Vivien, and Ben won’t stop until he uncovers the identity of the Rubber Man.

At the house, a cop visits Ben with an unsettling report about Violet (Taissa Farmiga): After sixteen consecutive absences at school, Ben is one absence away from a trip to juvenile court. Ben tries to help Violet during a self-imposed exile inside her room, but Ben runs into another problem with an unexpected infestation of flies.

Ben scouts boarding schools for Violet’s fresh start. Tate is terrified at the thought of losing Violet forever, so Tate reawakens his alter ego as the Rubber Man to stop Ben’s plans for relocating Violet………

Review:  “Let it go, Larry! She doesn’t love you!”

I almost stood up and shouted every word above during this episode. It’s obvious Larry will do ANYTHING to capture Constance’s heart, but Constance doesn’t share Larry’s feelings. Need proof? There’s a scene, where Constance surprises Larry at his apartment to confront Larry about Travis’ murder. Larry throws himself at Constance with another “I love you” speech, but Constance responds with “that’s your problem.”

It’s funny, because towards the beginning of the season, I wanted to feel some sympathy for Larry. After all, here’s another guy, who succumbed to the evil forces at the Murder House, and the evil forces forced Larry to burn his family alive. But any feelings of sympathy for Larry disappear, when the truth behind Larry’s lies are exposed. For starters, Larry wasn’t a victim of a fire. Tate set Larry on fire. On top of that, we’re talking about a guy, who willingly kicked his wife and two daughters to the curb for Constance.

The relationship between Constance and Larry? Well, there is no real relationship. A delusional Larry believes in a happy relationship with Constance, but Constance is just using Larry, and he’s a doormat for Constance to wipe her feet on. She used Larry to murder Beau, and she used him to move into the Murder House again after the fire.

Towards the end, Larry visits the Murder House to hide Travis’ belongings. At the house, Larry runs into Lorraine, Margaret, and Angela. Margaret and Angela are playing tea time with Travis, and Larry promises vengeance on Constance for ruining his family. But Lorraine isn’t buying  into Larry’s pleas for forgiveness. Lorraine reminds Larry he’s the one, who willingly turned his back on the family, and Larry made a willing choice to start an affair with Constance. Larry begs and begs for a second chance, so Lorraine issues an ultimatum. You want forgiveness? You want to show me and our daughters you’re really sorry for what you did? Okay, “prove it.”

Larry’s solution to his problems? Larry takes the blame for Constance, and he confesses to the murders for his punishment. That’s right. Larry kills two birds with one stone with his confession. Larry clears Constance’s name, because Granger and Barrios were determined to pin the murder on her no matter what. And with the jail sentence, Larry can serve his time for abandoning Lorraine and the kids.

But it’s not over yet. As a prisoner, Larry requests one last visit from Constance before a transfer to Illinois to serve the rest of his sentence. The sight of Constance isn’t enough, because Larry wants Constance to tell him he loves her. He doesn’t care if it’s the truth or a lie. Larry wants to hear the words “I love you” out of Constance’s mouth. Larry puts his hand on the window, waiting for a response from Constance. Constance touches Larry’s hand from the other side…..but she pulls away at the last second, and an ungrateful and cruel Constance walks away from the visit, leaving Larry all by himself with no comfort.

Larry was more than willing to live a lie in his own fantasy world, but Constance wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. Larry needed Constance’s lies for comfort during a lonely life sentence, but Constance flipped one more proverbial middle finger to Larry in the end. Yeah, Constance is ruthless and nasty, but I’ll say this again, it’s hard to feel any sympathy for Larry, because he’s too gullible and foolish. Fool me once? Shame on you. Fool me twice? Shame on me, and if you sucker me or stab me in the back after that, then I’m just an idiot for not learning my lesson.

So what’s going with Violet? She’s missing school, she locked herself in her room, and Ben has plans for a non-negotiable trip to a boarding school. Violet promises Ben one more shot at public school, but Tate stops Violet before her departure one day. Tate convinces Violet to agree to a suicide pact, but Violet backs out at the last second. Violet tries to run…..but she can’t leave the house, and you know what that means. Violet is dead (remember, if you die at the Murder House, you’re stuck on the property forever).

Remember Violet’s failed suicide attempt in “Piggy Piggy”? Well, Violet swallowed too many pills, and unfortunately, Violet succeeded in her attempt at suicide. After her death, Tate hid Violet’s rotting corpse in a crawlspace to spare Violet the shock and all the pain from dying , and Violet’s dead body is the magnet for the flies. Oh, and Tate murdered the exterminator after he discovered Violet’s body, because Tate was trying to guard the secret from Violet.

Violet is dead, and Ben is on a mission to catch the Rubber Man, but the Rubber Man surprises and attacks Ben after a shower. During the fight, Ben pulls off the mask to see Tate’s face, but Tate incapacitates Ben with a beating and a rag with chloroform.

For now, Violet confides in Tate as her only companion in the afterlife at the Murder House, BUT Violet doesn’t know about Tate’s alter ego as the Rubber Man, and she doesn’t know Tate is the one, who raped Vivien, and Tate is the father for one of Vivien‘s twins.  And what about Ben? Will he retaliate for Tate attacking Vivien? Or will Ben ignore Tate for the time being to focus on Vivien? For the first time in a long time, you get the feeling Ben and Vivien are on the same page. They’re focused on the twins, and moving out of the Murder House at all costs, but the evil forces (Chad, Patrick, Teddy, Hayden, Nora, etc.) are determined to sabotage Vivien’s plans for a clean escape with the twins.

It’s hard to say anything meaningful about Malaya Rivera Drew and Charles S. Dutton. They’re pursuing Constance, but in the grand scheme of things, they’re stuck in bit parts, because they’re taking a backseat to Constance, Larry, Ben, Violet, and Tate. 

Murder House closes another chapter with Constance and Larry’s story, and any man, who crosses Constance Langdon learns a hard and lasting life lesson. Remember Hugo? Constance refused to bury Hugo with his “lover” (young Moira, Alexandra Breckenridge), so Constance chopped Hugo into pieces, and Constance served the pieces of Hugo’s body to a pack of dogs as a meal, because Hugo was as worthless as “dogs***.” Also, the gruesome flashback with Constance feeding a dismembered Hugo to the dogs? Nasty stuff.

Smoldering Children is a progressive and satisfying episode, and they tie up a lot of loose ends with Travis, Constance, and Larry here. We’re only one episode away from the finale, they’re moving the pieces in a big puzzle to set up the finish, and we’re still in the pins and needles stage, because you don’t know what’s going to happen with Vivien, the twins, and Ben. Will they allow a delivery for the twins at the Murder House?  Will they have a choice? What happens if they run out of time for a safe delivery? And what’s going to happen, when Violet explains the complications attached to her death? 

Rating: 8/10

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